On 9/24/06, Daniel R. Tobias <dan(a)tobias.name> wrote:
There's been some discussion here lately on the
including or deleting the article for some smallish private school.
Actually, it's my impression that, over the couple of years I've been
involved with the project, Wikipedia has been steadily moving in the
direction of inclusionism in a number of subject areas, including
schools, roads, pop music, and TV episodes. A while back, something
had to be highly notable to be included in those subjects, but now
there are articles on county roads, middle schools, upcoming as-yet-
unnamed pop albums, etc.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? At least in some areas,
where there are bounded categories that are (fairly) well defined
(one can always expect there will be a few edge cases though),
there's some value to aiming for having a complete set of articles,
even if some of them are of marginal notability and don't have all
that much to be said about them. Some past U.S. vice presidents are
pretty obscure now, but it would be good to have all of them anyway
(do we?) We've got articles on all the popes (and various antipopes
as well), though some of the early ones have practically no known
facts beyond their regnal names and (sometimes approximate) dates of
office. We've got all the U.S. census-listed places, thanks to an
early "bot" run, and probably should aim to get similarly complete
coverage of the rest of the world, even including remote villages of
tiny population; it's useful in the aggregate to be able to look up
any place (particularly when this is integrated into applications
where you can click on a spot on a map for more information).
So, should we be just as complete for schools, albums, songs, TV
shows, and so on? Would that just be duplicating IMDB, etc., or
would it be helping to make Wikipedia a one-stop resource for more in-
depth info (including links where appropriate to other sites like
IMDB) on everything in each of these fields?
== Dan ==
It is a complicated issue, and "inclusionists" have a very good point:
if it is verifiable, why not put it in the encyclopedia? It's not like
inclusion of one article hurts another.
I am sympathetic to this point, I am, but I really think that it only
goes so far. The truth is this: we *are* an encyclopedia, and
encyclopedias should only contain entries that pass atleast some level
of notability. Otherwise, if we let just any school, company, band,
movie, tv-show character, &c in, we are creating notability that
wasn't there before. An entry in an encyclopedia gives the subject
some inherent notability. In my opinion, this is not desirable if we
are acheive the standard of other encyclopedias. We should be careful
to not let ourself devolve into some mass of facts, because that does
devalue the things that really deserve an article.
What I'm saying is, on a longer timescale, using WP:V as the sole
criteria for inclusion does hurt the encyclopedia as a whole. One mans